Ethics & Religion: An Introduction

The many issues with moral relativism have already been discussed here, here and here. And many more places. There really is no shortage of questions and concerns when it comes to this type of thinking. While on one hand I can understand some of its foundation, on the other hand, so much of it makes no sense. Moral relativism is a valid theory and certainly one worth discussion, but I just don't think it holds water 100% of the time. But then again, neither does anything else.

You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Wouldn't it be so much easier if we all could stop thinking about these issues for a little while and just come to accept a "book of laws" or something like that? If we all did that, we would know the rules of what makes each of us moral and what doesn't. We could identify moral communities and cultures, cities and nations. It would reduce so much stress in the world if we were simply told what to do. Wouldn't that be better than what we have now? Too many cooks in the kitchen if you ask me.

If you don't subscribe to moral relativism or subjectivism, perhaps you'd be more interested in religious views on morality. Religion offers answers to many of our questions and gives us a straightforward objective view of what morality is, what's moral, and what's not. Religion bases its teachings on God himself and proclaims with confidence our moral rights and obligations. It's moral objectivism at its finest. And when someone asks you why you do certain things or behave a certain way, you'll have an answer to give them. There can be no dispute. But beware, moral objectivism based on religion does face some serious challenges, so that will need to be explored as well.

In future posts, I'll be studying and relaying what I learn about two different types of religious based morality; Divine Command and Natural Law. I'll be delving into three different Abrahamic religions; Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. All three of these religions view God as all powerful and God's word as unquestionable. All things on earth have been created by God and the future of earth's existence relies on God's mercy. Through these religions, we have learned that God has already given us rules by which to live. These rules can be referred to as Commandments or the Five Pillars. Each religion views them somewhat differently, but the intent is the same. They're meant to guide us morally.

As children, many of us first learned about what's right and what's wrong through our church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. We were given information about how to treat people, what to strive for, and what types of activities and behaviors to avoid. It's quite common for children around to world to get their first taste of morality this way. Even as adults, when an individual faces some sort of moral conundrum, they ask their spiritual leader for some sort of guidance. This personal guidance spills over into everyday society as well. As you're most likely aware, we've been fighting over moral issues for decades. Issues such as abortion, gay rights, the right to die, and the death penalty. The fact of the matter is, religion plays a large role in guiding the individual as well as society as a whole on a moral path. But even as large as this role is, it's not infallible. Pure philosophy can aid religion in clarifying some of the more difficult and stubborn issues.

Again, I've got a lot or reading to do that concerns religious morality. I'll be discussing the pros and cons of each type and will touch upon how religion can be useful when someone is attempting to live a more moral life.
 
Top